The beauty industry has been plagued by cultural appropriation as it has long been. But one of the latest examples to stir public opinion and cause waves on social media is Hailey Bieber’s so-called “iridescent brown lips” look, which model and founder Rhode promoted via TikTok a few weeks ago. It involves lining the lips in brown and then topping them with a clear lip gloss – simple, easy, and undeniably beautiful. The internet splurged on Bieber’s video, capturing her ideas and heralding the former as the next big fall makeup “trend”. (No doubt, people were especially eager to do so after the success of her previous viral “glazed donut” manicure.)
But there’s a big problem with all of this: Bieber didn’t invent this look. Far away from it.
The combination of dark and clear primer is a beauty staple that blacks, Latinx, and other people of color have used for decades. The problem in general, for cases of cultural appropriation, is the lack of context and the obliteration of the long history of this “trend”.
“It’s not about Hailey,” makeup artist Sir John (whose most famous client is Beyoncé) tells Diet Prada. “All you have is a lip liner and a layer of lip gloss throughout the day… We had to get creative and try things out in an unorthodox way because of the lack of products for blacks and skinned people. brown.”
The look’s popularity partly stems from the fact that lip products on the market don’t effectively cater to dark skin tones. In an era when makeup companies didn’t offer comprehensive options for melanin-rich skin, it was considered a makeup trick to highlight and highlight lips with lip liner, eyeliner, and more. or Fashion Fair eyebrows, as Thalía Henao wrote recently on Allure.
“When it was on my sisters or my mother, and in the Black and Latino communities, it was seen as a slum,” Sir John explained to Diet Prada. “Now that it’s on the white body, it’s considered ‘fashion.'”
Beauty trends like the new rise of brown lipstick highlight stark differences in how mainstream culture values ​​women’s beauty aesthetics based on their race, skin color, and hairstyle. . This has to do with the issue of black fishing (something the Kardashians in particular have been called frequently); In an article on the subject for Time, Cady Lang wrote, “It’s an evil culture that values ​​curves on wealthy, racially ambiguous white women, but stigmatizes the specifics. this point in Black women; one that makes one enamored with Black aesthetics and at the same time unwilling to participate in the ugliness of anti-Black racism.”
However, it is likely that this is a moment of recession. Author and professor Jillian Hernandez of “Aesthetic of Too” says that while the “brown enamel lip trend” is one of the latest examples of cultural extraction in beauty, we are in a period of time. there are more examples of trendsetters.
“We’re in a moment where working-class, female color aesthetics are gaining respect, and that visibility is a relatively new phenomenon,” she said, nodding to the artists. artists such as Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, Lizzo and City Girls. “These are black women who have entered the pop culture space and A-class status without affecting their working class.”
One thing that we know as a useful measure against rampant cultural appropriation is education. See how the brown lip liner/transparent lip gloss combination has become prolific, iconic, and impactful for makeup looks – from the ’90s, 2000s and today – in the set. collection below.

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